7 Things Every Woman Should Know About Having a Healthy Pregnancy
When you peed on that little stick and found out you were pregnant, I bet you felt every emotion from excited to terrified! There's nothing quite like walking around with that sweet, little secret growing in your tummy.
But you have some pregnancy-related questions that need evidence-based answers. You want your pregnancy and birth to be as healthy as possible, because you're already an ah-mazing mama and you haven't even officially met your baby yet!
Check out these healthy pregnancy and birth recommendations from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists (ACOG) to help guide your baby bump safely to the delivery room.
DISCLAIMER: Of course, if you have any questions you should run them by your doctor. Since we don't know each other personally, it would be silly not to chat with the person most familiar with your prenatal situation!
BTW- if you're just looking to chat with other pregnant and postpartum moms you can download the free, anonymous Mamasoup App here. It's on iOS and Android!
Exercise During Pregnancy
There's lots of research about the benefits of exercise during pregnancy! In fact, ACOG recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week for healthy pregnant women.
Regular, moderate exercise during pregnancy can help you:
- Sleep better
-Moderate your blood pressure
-Train for the biggest workout your body is about to do: give birth!
-Manage your weight gain
Girl, I absolutely love free stuff and especially when I know it's really high-quality.
My friends over at Pilates on Demand have prenatal yoga, pilates and even meditation videos that you can access online! If you've been thinking about trying it out to help keep your body toned, flexible and ready to push your baby out, check out the FREE try-before-you-buy subscription HERE!
What have you got to lose?
(RELATED: How to Safely Exercise During Pregnancy)
Air Travel While Pregnant
As long as women don’t have any obstetric complications, they can follow the same precautions for air travel as the general population and fly safely.
-ACOG September 21st, 2009
We're not living in the '70's anymore when women were told not to fly in airplanes if they were expecting. If you've been planning that babymoon to the Bahamas, there's a good chance you'll be able to go!
Chat with your doctor ahead of making travel arrangements and make sure it's okay during your particular pregnancy.
Special Note: During pregnancy, be sure to avoid any areas that are experiencing the Zika Virus
Drinking Caffeine While You're Pregnant
Good news for java lovers:
Moderate caffeine consumption doesn’t appear to cause miscarriage or preterm birth.
-ACOG July 21st, 2010
Obviously you've got to be realistic about the amount of caffeine that you're going to drink. Don't run out and buy yourself a venti dark roast just yet!
Caffeine can make you jittery and wide awake at night when you should be asleep. So keep your coffee consumption to a small cup or two a day. You'll need the jolt of the java bean more after your baby comes home anyhow!
Dying Your Hair While You're Pregnant
Some substances once were thought to be harmful but now are considered safe during pregnancy. For instance, many women worry that using hair dye may be harmful to their babies. But hair dyes are believed to be safe to use during pregnancy
-ACOG 2005, Your Pregnancy and Childbirth
Oh Sis! Were you worried that you'd have to deal with 9 month-old roots after you had your baby? Oh HELL nah!
Pregnancy is a great time to Glow Up! People just naturally notice pregnant women because it's so cool that that they're carrying another life.
Take advantage of all the extra attention and get your hair did. The only advice I can give you is to maybe scale back your colour process until you have time to sit in a stylist's chair for a couple of hours. I'd ditch the foils for awhile!
Eating Fish and Shellfish While Pregnancy
Fish and shellfish can be important parts of a healthy and balanced diet. They are both good sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients. However, certain kinds of fish should not be eaten at all during your pregnancy because they contain high levels of a form of mercury that can be harmful to the baby.
-ACOG 2010, Your Pregnancy and Childbirth
Fish to avoid while pregnant and breastfeeding:
- king mackeral
Opt for fish lower in mercury content like shrimp, canned tuna (not albacore), salmon, pollock and catfish.
It's cool if you eat about 12 ounces per week, which is basically two servings.
Eating Food Products Made With Unpasteurized Milk (Soft Cheeses, Hot Dogs, Lunch Meats, Smoked Seafood) While You're Pregnant
Bad news if you have cravings for feta or brie while you’re pregnant-
Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by Listeria bacteria found in unpasteurized milk; soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk such as feta and brie; hot dogs; luncheon meats; and smoked seafood.
Listeriosis can cause fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as chills and aches. Even if the infection doesn’t make you seriously ill, it can have very serious effects on your developing baby. If it’s not treated right away, listeriosis can cause miscarriage and stillbirth. Pregnant women with listeriosis should be treated with antibiotics.
-ACOG, Your Pregnancy and Childbirth
Stay away from hot dogs, sandwich meats and smoked seafood to be on the safe side. There's no slab of bologna worth the risk of Listeriosis.
(In short; cheddar is better when your pregnant!)
Induction May Double Risk for Caesarean
Nulliparous (first-birth) women undergoing induction of labor with unfavorable cervices should be counseled about a two-fold increased risk of cesarean delivery.
-ACOG Practice Bulletin #107, 2009
In basic terms: Your risk of having your baby by caesarean is twice as likely if your labour is induced before your cervix is ready.
So what's a pregnant lady to do?
Find an amazing healthcare provider who will let you stay pregnant as long as possible (at least until 40 weeks) and read this:
(Important to note: ACOG maintains that an induction for a suspected big baby (macrosomia) is not a medical reason to induce and I agree!)
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!